Baldwin girls soccer hoping to build off last season's success
Caley Troutman believes she was fortunate to be at the helm when the Baldwin girls' soccer team won the Section 4-AAA championship last season.
Baldwin had not won a section title in girls' soccer since 1986, long before any of the team's players were born.
The Lady Highlanders generated a 10-0-2 record in section play in 2013 to finish slightly ahead of runner-up Bethel Park (10-1-1).
The Baldwin girls defeated Bethel Park by a 1-0 score, and also played to a 0-0 stalemate with the Lady Black Hawks.
Troutman is beginning her second year as the Lady Highlanders' head coach, after serving one year as an assistant.
She is quick to give credit to Vicki Hritz and Liz Allemang, Baldwin's two previous head coaches, for last year's championship season.
Troutman said Hritz and Allemang established a solid foundation to build a successful girls' soccer program at Baldwin.
“Those two really set the tone,” Troutman said. “I was just able to keep that going and got lucky with a great group of girls last year.”
A 2004 South Park graduate, Troutman knows what it's like to compete on a successful high school team.
South Park had won 12 consecutive section crowns when she played as a center/midfielder for the Lady Eagles.
“We were WPIAL runners-up when I was a freshman, and we won the WPIAL (championship) when I was a sophomore,” said Troutman, who continued her soccer career at Long Island University.
Troutman, who majored in elementary and special education in college and is employed as a learning support teacher in the Burgettstown School District, always knew that she wanted to coach.
“I wanted to pass on my playing experience and share the joy of the sport with others,” she said.
But the Lady Highlanders' head coach admits it can be difficult at times.
“You can't want it for them. You can't play for them,” she said. “It's been hard wanting to be back out there on the field.
“I can't believe it's been 10 years for me.”
Troutman played Cup soccer for what is now the Century United program. Her coach was Ted Perri.
She went on to become his assistant coach at Bishop Canevin, before being hired at Baldwin in 2012.
Perri now is retired, but Troutman credits him as being the most influential coach in her career.
She bases a lot of her coaching principles on things that Perri taught and embraced.
Troutman believes last year's success at Baldwin will help motivate the Lady Highlanders this season.
“It was a good taste of success for the girls,” she said. “They really want to win and want to go further this year.”
Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.